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 Welcome to the Internet home of the St. Johns County Florida SKYWARN net.
  
The National Weather Service (NWS), in cooperation with other organizations, has established the SKYWARN local severe weather spotting network. Founded in the early 1970's, SKYWARN is made up of a group of trained, dedicated amateur weather enthusiasts who work in conjunction with the National Weather Service by observing and reporting adverse weather conditions to promote public safety and minimize property damage. Anyone over the age of 16 with an interest in weather and public service qualifies for SKYWARN spotter training. Once trained, y  ou are a qualified SKYWARN spotter. 

  
SKYWARN is an Integral Part of the Detection and Warning Process!
With the advent of NEXRAD WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar 88 Doppler) and other technologies, the art and science of weather forecasting has made great strides. But even with all the technology the National Weather Service still needs "ground truth" observations. WSR-88D Doppler radar will help locate and track potentially severe and dangerous storms, but it is SKYWARN spotters that report what the storm is actually doing (trees blown down, a tornado on the ground, flood waters washing out a bridge, a dangerous glaze of ice on roads and wires).The NWS uses the spotter information to verify that what is happening on the ground is what they are seeing on radar. It is this reporting of ground conditions that completes the circle.
Through training the NWS teaches interested volunteers to be safe, effective and accurate weather spotters who provide them with the needed ground truth. SKYWARN spotters are trained to spot tornadoes, funnel clouds, and severe thunderstorms. They are told how to report hail, strong winds, heavy rain, floods, and snow (not normally found in our area). Forecasters combine information from spotters with that of WSR-88D radar, satellite and other tools. This information is then used to provide appropriate warnings for communities in the path of the storm and to keep people informed about what is happening and what steps they may need to take to protect themselves.
 
SKYWARN™ is not a club or organization. However, we have have organized a SKYWARN™ group that works independent of any parent government agency to feed valuable information to the National Weather Service.
 
SKYWARN™ spotters are not "Storm Chasers". While the functions and methods are similar, spotter stays close to home and normally have ties to a local NWS agency.

How does SKYWARN work?
Normally SKYWARN is placed on stand-by when a severe weather watch is posted by the National Weather Service. Once that watch is upgraded to a warning, SKYWARN may be activated and spotters are asked to make severe weather observations. After making an observation that is reportable, there are three ways to relay the information to the National Weather Forecast Office which include: telephone, amateur radio, and E-mail. The purpose of the St. Johns SYWARN net is to allow amateur radio operators in St. Johns county and surrounding areas to report their observations using the 145.210 repeater. Amateur radio operators are often mobile and have the means to make contacts via 2 meter radio. This gives the NWS a broader footprint and allows for more timely reporting.
 
How do I become a SKYWARN Spotter?
All you need to do to become a member of the SKYWARN volunteer network is an interest in watching the sky and a dedication to helping save lives. You must be at least 16 years old, be able to observe weather (though no instruments are required), and have access to a telephone, Internet, or be a licensed amateur radio operator so you can relay your reports by radio. You also must take a SKYWARN class, a free seminar conducted by the NWS that teaches you the basics of how SKYWARN operates, and how to recognize and report severe weather.
 
   

 


 
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